Pennzoil, Castrol Launch TV Ads


The lubricants industry traditionally has not been a big source of advertising revenue for television broadcasters, but at least two of the biggest motor oil marketers, Pennzoil and Castrol, recently launched campaigns in the United States.

Shell Lubricants Pennzoil began airing the first of two TV ads in late June. The first commercial, named Homage, depicts dozens of engines jumping out of vehicles and speeding to a warehouse where Pennzoil is being unloaded. Shell officials claimed that the campaign, which also includes radio spots and point-of-sale promotions, represented a new approach to motor oil advertising.

This campaign connects and makes people care about their engines and the brand of oil that they put into their engines, Senior Vice President of Motor Oil Branding Steve Hanson said. This connection ultimately gives consumers the emotional and rational reason to choose Pennzoil over our competition.

In fact, the first TV commercial does little to explain how Pennzoil compares to other motor oils. The 30-second ad includes one 10-word sentence, a narrator saying, Give your engine what it wants: Not just oil, Pennzoil. A second version of the commercial includes a reference to Time Released Protection, claiming that it helps keeps engines running stronger longer.

Pennzoil officials could not be reached for comment. According toAdvertising Age magazine, Shell Lubricants has an annual budget of $40 to $50 million for television and radio advertising of the Pennzoil and Quaker State brands in the United States.

BPs Castrol in late July launched a reprise of a decade-old commercial showing oil being drained from two test engines while they run. One engine, supplied with a conventional oil, begins to smoke and then seizes, while the engine that had held Syntec continues running.

A spokesman said Castrol revisited the theme to communicate that Syntec still outperforms the competition, even after upgrades of motor oil standards during the past several years.

Castrols new commercial is part of a campaign that included an Aug. 6 game in which residents of New York City were invited to find a silver key hidden inside one Manhattan taxi cab. The individual who found the key was entered into a drawing for $27,000, while the driver of the cab received $8,000. In conjunction with the promotion, the Syntec Unconventional Crew, an all-female pit crew, appeared around Manhattan offering comedic relief and car maintenance tips.

Another spokesman acknowledged that education about motor oil was not the focus of the taxi game. It was just designed to promote brand awareness, she said.

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